Eastern Association for Physical Education of College Women Records
The EAPECW had its genesis in 1910 when Amy Morris Homans, director of physical training at Wellesley College, called together women directors of physical training and heads of athletic associations in New England Colleges for an informal meeting. After four years of these gatherings, in 1915 the group officially formed as the Association of Directors of Physical Education for College Women to "discuss the problems of organization and administration of departments of physical education in colleges, and by definite cooperation, study, experiment, and research work, broaden the scope and increase the usefulness of such departments." At this time, physical education was a relatively new addition to the college curriculum and these women met to share ideas and information and collaboratively establish policies for the emerging discipline and its professionals. Membership was limited to directors of physical education in four-year accredited colleges and universities with appropriate facilities for physical education.
At annual meetings, papers and reports were presented and roundtable discussions held on a wide variety of topics to do with the administration of college departments and curriculum; status, pay, benefits, and retirement programs for physical education faculty; and various aspects of hygiene and physical and mental health including anthropometric testing of college students.
Similar associations were formed in the midwest and the west and in 1923 the regional groups voted to affiliate as the National Association of Directors of Physical Education for Women in Colleges and Universities. The EAPECW became known as the Eastern Society of that Association.
In 1941, directors of physical education in selected junior colleges were admitted to membership in the association. Physical education faculty and staff who were not department directors were permitted to join as associate members in 1946 and as full voting members in 1948. The name of the organization was changed to Eastern Association for Physical Education of College Women at that time.
With the expansion of its membership, the EAPECW entered a second stage. Now part of an established profession, the Association ran conferences that focused less on departmental organization and more on the latest trends in physical education. The Association ran a speakers bureau and job referral service through its Personnel Committee and wrote a promotional brochure to interest high school students in the profession.
The 1960s and 1970s brought many changes to physical education. Women's participation came to be considered appropriate in an ever-expanding array of sports, college physical education requirements were abandoned along with many other academic requirements, men's and women's physical education departments merged, athletics (particularly intercollegiate athletics) saw increased emphasis in the curriculum, and the passage of Title IX set the stage for full participation of women in college athletics. All of these changes meant not only many more options for women in sport, but many more organizations for women physical educators. As physical educators became more specialized, their interests and energy shifted toward more specialized organizations and EAPECW's membership declined.
After lengthy discussion and study, as well as a needs assessment survey by a professional consulting firm, the EAPECW voted to dissolve at its June 1992 meeting "in order to preserve the history and integrity of EAPECW...rather than let it fade to insignificance."
As its legacy, the EAPECW established an endowment to support the Margaret Paulding Lecture Series. The Paulding lecture is given each year at the convention of the Eastern District Association (EDA) of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) by a woman in higher education who has made a strong contribution to the physical education profession.